Dominating the boards sealed the 72-67 victory for Long Beach State men’s basketball against its rival California State University Fullerton.
LBSU controlled the rebounding category throughout the game on Thursday night against the CSUF Titans.
The Beach finished the game with a total of 49 rebounds compared to its opponent’s 29.
LBSU sophomore forwards Lassina Traore and Aboubacar Traore led the team with a combined 29 rebounds, which matched all of CSUF’s rebounds.
Lassina had 16 of The Beach’s rebounds by the end of the night.
“I think this team needs to get confidence in winning other than out scoring people,” LBSU men’s basketball head coach Dan Monson said. “I think they were able to do that a different way with their defense and rebounding.”
Lassina stayed disciplined on defense according to Monson when it came to switches and avoided fouling after two came early in the game.
“I feel like the reason we have not won previous games is because of our defense, but now I feel like these past couple of days in practice our main focus was defense,” Lassina said.
He continued by saying that the team has improved on that end of the court and has gotten better because of the practices.
Sharing the ball was a factor in the win for LBSU, which finished with 15 assists, but this shed a light on the teams 19 turnovers.
“We have to trust what we are doing, you know great teams learn how to win,” LBSU sophomore guard Jadon Jones said.
Lassina trusted what the team was doing and finished the game shooting 80% from the field making eight out of his 10 shots attempted.
The team was down a couple of players including LBSU senior guard Joel Murray, but according to Monson the way to win came from the depth that he feels the team has.
The performances from Lassina and Aboubacar Traore made up for the absence of Murray and helped lead The Beach to a victory.
It moved the team to a 9-10 record overall and a 3-4 record in the conference.
Still below a .500 winning percentage, the team was able to beat the team that knocked them out of contention for a national championship the previous year.
The Beach will play the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla on Saturday with a possibility of breaking that .500 barrier with a win.